Friday, April 1, 2016

NTDS (82): Living Stones

1 Peter 2:5 …you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. NASU

The Bible often uses stones and rocks as metaphors to teach us truths contained in scripture. It might be a little hard for us living in today’s modern society to understand what is being taught here, because we don’t normally think of stones and rocks as building blocks. Rather we may think of them as objects to throw or annoying hindrances to digging in our gardens. But for the immediate audience to which Peter wrote, this was a very useful picture of how God wanted their relationship with Him to grow.

In the construction methods of the time, when a structure was to be built, a choice stone would be laid (or at least designed) in one corner first. That would be the foundation for the whole building. It was called the “chief cornerstone,” and it would dictate how the rest of the building would go.

The analogy then becomes very clear. Peter tells us that as believers, our foundation, our chief cornerstone, is Jesus himself. He is the cornerstone of the church and we are the rest of the stones, used to complete the building. Our key verse calls us a “spiritual house.” This is a beautiful picture of how the body of Christ is “fitted” together and reminds us that we are interdependent. We need each other to be complete and we all need Jesus to be the foundation of our lives. If He is not, we will surely fall apart.

Peter goes on to say that we were chosen for this spiritual house so that we might proclaim …the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9) NASU

Though we are certainly to proclaim this in words, throughout this chapter Peter is telling us that our deeds, our actions, are what truly proclaim this. Look at these instructions in 1 Peter 2:11-12, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” NASU

He began the chapter with this exhortation: “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,” (1 Peter 2:1-3) NASU

You see, the truth of the gospel is proclaimed when believers dwell together in love and unity. Jesus said that the world would know that we are His disciples by our love one for another (Jn 13:35). This means that we must be willing to put aside petty differences, in order to grow as believers and proclaim the truth of the gospel.

Those petty differences, by the way, come not from others and their personality quirks, but from our own selfishness and pride.

We must remember two things. We were saved by grace, not because of any goodness in us and we are not perfect. In fact, our personalities may be just as irritating to someone else as theirs is to us!

Let us strive, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to “fit” closely together. Let’s be content with being one humble stone of God’s spiritual house and rely on the chief cornerstone to hold us together. In that way, we proclaim that Jesus is alive and living in us.

God bless you

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